When you buy a new Mercedes-Benz car, there is the assumption that you must have a Mercedes main dealer service and maintain the vehicle. As you know, all new cars come with a manufacturer’s warranty and many people believe that if you have your car serviced by an independent garage it will invalidate that warranty. The thing is, that statement is not true.
While it’s true that most warranty repairs can only get carried out by an authorised Mercedes-Benz dealer, having routine servicing and maintenance work done elsewhere isn’t always a problem. With that in mind, does it make sense to stick with main dealers or use independent garages?
Pros and cons of Mercedes main dealer servicing
If you take your new Mercedes-Benz car to a Mercedes main dealer for its servicing, you can be sure of a few things. At the very least all parts used to service and maintain the vehicle are genuine manufacturer-branded ones, the technicians that service your car will be trained to specific Mercedes-Benz standards, and you’ll get your on line service records updated via DSB (Digital Service Book).
It is a popular misconception that the value of a car with a full Mercedes-Benz service history is greater than one without. This may be true if the services have been carried out by an anonymous garage but where the services have been done by a recognised specialist then less so if at all.
Of course, there are some downsides to main dealer Mercedes servicing. Perhaps the most common one is the price; Mercedes dealers aren’t known for inexpensive parts and labour costs! There’s also the fact that some dealerships don’t provide the best service to their customers unless they are buying a car from them and even then the internet is awash with accounts of indifference.
Pros and cons of independent garage servicing
Independent garages get used by owners of new Mercedes-Benz cars for several reasons. The obvious one is that their prices are considerably lower than those of main dealers. Ones that specialise in the marque will also carry out their work to a high standard, often exceeding those of dealership repair centres.
It’s often the case that technicians working at independent garages are former staff of Mercedes main dealers. That gives them the advantage in that they are experienced in working with Mercedes cars and know the most common issues encountered by each model. For added peace of mind, you can also ask an independent garage to only use genuine Mercedes-Benz parts on your car if that is not already their policy.
As with Mercedes main dealer servicing, there are some cons to independent garage servicing. Sadly, some garages may not provide a good service, and so car owners need to research them beforehand. Also, independent garages can’t carry out some warranty repairs unless expressly agreed to by Mercedes-Benz.
How to choose an independent Mercedes-Benz garage
The benefits of using an independent Mercedes-Benz garage for routine servicing and maintenance far outweigh those of using a main dealer. But, how can you be sure that the garage you use is up to the job?
First of all, you should check they use the latest state of the art diagnostic equipment. It’s no secret that today’s modern cars are electronically-controlled. That means technicians often have to “plug in” diagnostic machines into your vehicle to read fault codes and carry out specific tests via the car’s ECU. Do they use a generic diagnostic machine or are they leasing a factory machine direct from Mercedes Benz?
Another thing to consider is pricing. How do the garage’s prices for parts and labour stack up against your local main dealer’s fees? Do they offer fixed-price servicing and repairs? If so they are often just “get you in the door” prices so check what’s included. A good independent may well have his own tailored service schedule over and above the Mercedes prescribed one. It’s also important to research feedback from past customers. You can usually do this online or by talking to people you know that have used the garage in the past.
One final point to think about is guarantee of workmanship. What kind of warranty do you get on the parts and labour? Will they rectify any issues for free that arise from work they’ve carried out in the past?
See if you can find any accounts of dis-satisfaction and note how they have been dealt with. Judge a company not by the mistakes that it makes but in the mistakes it makes in dealing with its mistakes.
By taking all those considerations on board, you will be successful in finding a skilled and reliable independent Mercedes garage to service and maintain your car.